As a Canal Alliance intern, Britney Guiterrez Calderon registered new voters and advocated for equitable public infrastructure. Britney is one of dozens of students who partner with us through the service-learning program at Dominican University of California, a long-standing social justice collaborative with Canal Alliance that deepened in 2022.
“I grew up in the Canal neighborhood,” Britney notes, “and knew that Canal Alliance was a resource and safe place for many Latino immigrants. But I wasn’t aware of all the issues that were present until I started with the program. This experience has opened up my mind about my community.”
Britney is a first-generation college student in her third year of the university’s nursing program. She started with the service learning program her freshman year and chose to volunteer with Canal Alliance, experiences that prompted her to add a minor in Community Action and Social change.
Service Learning aims to help students put education into action, and connect them to organizations in Marin County. Canal Alliance and Dominican University, partners for many years, further codified their shared commitment toward social justice and well-being in Marin County in 2022.
Britney’s service to and learning from Canal Alliance is extensive. Through 2022, she was part of a critical community-led initiative for equitable public lighting and safety: The Canal Community Lighting Project.
Led by Canal Alliance, Voces del Canal, and Dominican University, coalition identified seven routes in need of equitable public lighting, to improve safety and quality of life.
“I was able to see real change with the Lighting Project,” Britney reflects. “We organized in the community. We presented our plan to the City Council. I saw the people in power take the community into consideration and make a change. I didn’t realize this was possible.”
Britney has also helped our advocacy team to register new voters and connect with the community about the importance of political participation. “We focused on getting the word out to youth,” Britney shared, “about why voting is important.”
Prior to her advocacy work, Britney assisted adults who are learning English through the Canal Alliance ESL program. Her volunteer work coincided with the pandemic; all classes went remote, a change the has resulted in an increase in the number of women who can access the class.
We are grateful for our partnership with Dominican University and for the inspiring work of future leaders like Britney Guiterrez Calderon, featured in this video about the importance of political participation.